NSW leader defends judgment after iftar event canned

March 1, 2024 by AAP
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The NSW premier has backed his judgment of sentiment in the Muslim community after becoming the second state leader to cancel an official iftar event.

Chris Minns

Chris Minns on Friday confirmed the fast-breaking dinner, held during the holy celebration of Ramadan, would not go ahead after Islamic groups boycotted the event.

Similar moves in Victoria led Jacinta Allan to cancel her premier’s iftar on Thursday.

Three in four Australian Muslims hail from the two states.

“In recognition of the fact that (leaders) didn’t feel able to or didn’t want to come, we won’t hold the dinner,” Mr Minns told reporters on Friday.

“I’m not blaming anyone for that. I understand there are reasons for it.

“But I don’t want them to think that we hadn’t planned one.”

Mr Minns’s relationship with the Islamic community has been strained since taking a strong stance in support of Israel and the Jewish community immediately after the October 7 attacks.

Hamas, designated a terrorist organisation by Australia, launched an attack in Israel on October 7 in which 1200 people were killed and hundreds taken hostage.

Almost 30,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel’s subsequent invasion of Gaza, according to the local health ministry.

It’s the latest escalation of a multi-generation conflict between Israel and Palestinian communities, which live under Israeli occupation.

The Islamic Council of NSW this week said it was impossible to break bread with those who claim to be friends of the Muslim community yet betrayed those sentiments with their actions.

“The double standards and highly divisive statements” of Mr Minns and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in not acknowledging a genocide, cutting UN relief funding and resisting ceasefire calls had “not gone unnoticed”, the council said.

Islamic groups have nominated the ongoing suffering in Gaza as a reason to cancel all iftar dinners, even led by the community, and donate funds to humanitarian aid groups.

The Australian National Imams Council highlighted deep disappointment with the Minns government’s response to the distress of the Muslim and Arab communities in NSW over the suffering and oppression of Palestinians.

But Mr Minns denied he had got the community sentiment wrong.

“I know that there’s been criticism of the government but … I’ve repeatedly spoken about the loss of life, particularly innocent civilian loss of life amongst the Palestinian community in the Middle East,” he said.

“I’m happy to repeat it here today. They’re victims of this war.”

Mr Minns said there was little he could say that would affect the situation in the Middle East and his focus was on community cohesion, safety and peace in NSW.

Plans for a multicultural “harmony” ballroom dinner remain afoot for March 14.



One Response to “NSW leader defends judgment after iftar event canned”
  1. liatjoy says:

    Chris Minns has been one of the few Australian political leaders to be direct and honest in appraisal of the Israel-Gaza war and to speak out against the antisemitism erupting with a voice that is strong. If the Muslim community doesn’t like it and wants to cancel a dinner, so be it. They need to understand that it’s about truth, not about support for the Palestinians ideologically.

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